3 Ways Adversity Creates Character

“Great character, like massive roots, grow deep when water is sparse and winds are strong.”

– Charles Swindoll

Consider the Oak

The interesting thing about nature is that when the winds blow the hardest, the trees grow the quickest. They grow from the necessity of self-preservation. The limbs are actually strengthened when force is applied to them over time. During the hot, dry summers where I live, these trees are forced to send their roots deep into the soil in search of moisture. In this way, these additional roots that are formed during drought help them find waters that run deep within the subsurface. You can easily see the analogy for the Christian when the strong winds of trials and afflictions hit them. They dig deep into God’s Word and more intense, intimate prayers.

Sharing in Suffering

Did you know that we can share something with Jesus Christ? Yes, it’s just as the Apostle Paul wrote, “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2 Corinthians 1:5). Paul even desired “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). I know it doesn’t sound good to share in something like suffering, but that’s clearly the will of God.

The Blessing of God

When we suffer, we can actually be blessed if we suffer for our faith. The Apostle Peter wrote that “even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14); and Jesus reminds us, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). Even more, “if you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14).


As Pastor Charles Swindoll said, “Great character, like massive roots, grow deep when water is sparse and winds are strong.” Think about how trials can strengthen our reliance upon God, how we can share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, and how we can be blessed by our persecution or trials. God is doing something in us, even if it doesn’t feel very good at the time.